Hopefully, this session would be more interesting than the morning one. It certainly couldn't have been less interesting. In fact it got off to a bit of an unusual start when Stephen Jelley (Menu Motorsport) went straight to...
Hopefully, this session would be more interesting than the morning one. It certainly couldn't have been less interesting. In fact it got off to a bit of an unusual start when Stephen Jelley (Menu Motorsport) went straight to provisional pole, only to be deposed by Ben Clucas (Fluid Motorsport) in a National Class car. This is not supposed to be possible, but obviously no one had bothered to tell Clucas that. Jelley wasn't about to be beaten by a man in a year-old car and so he set about speeding up, setting a fastest first sector time and demonstrating that the morning's engine problems were behind him now. However, while he was busy doing that, Charlie Kimball was gearing up for his second pole position of the day. With Parente no longer heading up the Carlin assault, Kimball has stepped into the Portuguese's shoes with every sign of belonging there. At the end of his first flying lap, he was already on pole. Marko Asmer (Hitech Racing) slotted in just behind him, while Jelley completed his flying lap to go back to pole.
A lap later and, with Charlie Hollings (Promatecme F3) grabbing provisional National Class pole at the same time as he went 2nd overall, Kimball took overall pole back with a margin of 1.13 seconds. He was quickly joined on the front row by Ryan Lewis (T-Sport), while Asmer and James Walker (Fortec Motorsport) both took fright at the American's pace and dived for the pits for very early tyre changes. While they were in being adjusted, Bruno Senna (Double R Racing) saw his chance. A flying lap from the Brazilian saw him get within 0.068 seconds of Kimball, but it wasn't enough. The Double R Racing boys were on fine form, it seemed, because the next thing that happened was that Daniel Clarke snagged 3rd place. That edged Lewis and Jelley down to 4th and 5th respectively, while Tim Bridgman (Hitech Racing) was 6th despite an early trip through the gravel at Priory.
Kimball's only rival for the runner up slot, Mike Conway (Fortec Motorsport), was still lurking in the pits, his Dallara wearing nice shiny new tyres. Whether it was going to help him or not remained to be seen. The battle for both pole positions was hotting up nicely now, with Salvador Duran (P1 Motorsport) going to National Class pole, and Senna edging even closer to Kimball. On his fifth lap it looked as if the Brazilian was about to make good on his pace in testing, and he set an overall fastest first sector time. All eyes were on the start/finish line waiting to see what his time would be. We waited, and waited. However, it was some time before Senna was seen again, and when he was he was on foot, trudging up the pitlane. He'd simply hit Priory far too fast and had gone straight in, bogging down in the gravel. It was embarrassing, and all he could do was hang about the pits and wait to see if anyone could outpace him. It wasn't going to be Karl Reindler (Alan Docking Racing), though the Australian was having a good run, proving to be much faster on his second visit to the circuit. He was in the top10 and looked as if he might actually belong there.
Someone who would normally also be in the top ten was Conway, who wandered back out and circulated gently to start with (as witnessed by the fact that he was 23rd with twenty minutes left to run. He had spent a lot of time in the pitlane, but he really needed to get moving now, especially as Kimball had just posted another faster pole position time.
Hollings and Duran swapped places again for National Class pole, while Danilo Dirani (P1 Motorsport), sauntering out late as usual, shot to 5th only to get elbowed out of the way by Asmer. Jelley slotted in right behind the Brazilian in 7th. A lap later Asmer was 4th, while Conway made it to 9th. Unlike in the morning session, the times were still coming down. Kimball managed another fastest first sector, while Conway moved up another three places to claim 6th. It was getting interesting again. Clucas was back on the pace too, and now grabbed the National Class pole position from Hollings. This was quite a long way from being over.
With 15 minutes to go, Kimball seemed to be secure in pole, from Senna, Clarke, Asmer, Lewis, Conway, James Walker (Fortec Motorsport), Dirani, Christian Bakkerud (Carlin Motorsport) and Jelley. Clucas was 11th, holding off Hollings, Duran, Bridgman, Reindler, Keiko Ihara (Carlin Motorsport), Josh Fisher (Team SWR), Jonathan Kennard (Alan Docking Racing), Yelmer Buurman (Fortec Motorsport) and Barton Mawer (T-Sport). Steven Kane (Promatecme F3) was floundering in 21st, though to be fair he'd been in the pits a lot of the time, while John Jakes (Performance Racing) was 22nd, before he was sidelined by a broken damper. Juho Annala (Alan Docking Racing) was next up from the inevitable Cheong Lou Meng (Edenbridge Racing) and Nick Jones (Team SWR).
A slow drift towards the pits began now, with only the truly determined or the really desperate staying out. Buurman was among the former, and judging by the fact that he suddenly shot up to 11th, it seemed he was learning the formula rapidly. Bakkerud too was speeding up, presumably in an effort to dump the gremlins that have plagued him most of the year. 6th was a huge improvement for the Dane, who would like to get a podium this weekend just to round out the season.
In the National Class Fisher was now 3rd, and that was almost the end of the changes. Only Buurman, Kane and Ihara were still out there, and the Japanese seemed unlikely to make much progress no matter how long she kept going round. Kane, on the other hand, was a lot further down that normal, and wanted to improve. He edged up to 12th, then a lap later - with 7 minutes of the session still to go - he was 9th. That was as good as it was going to get. The final improvement came from Buurman, the Dutchman taking an impressive 8th place in his second ever F3 qualifying session.
And so Kimball claimed his second pole position of the day, from Senna who was lucky to hold on to 2nd, Clarke, Asmer, Conway, Bakkerud, Lewis, Buurman, Kane and Walker. Dirani was 11th, ahead of Jelley, National Class poleman Clucas, Hollings, Duran, Fisher, Bridgman, Reindler, Ihara and Kennard. 21st was Mawer, from Annala, Jakes, Jones and Cheong.